These are wines you can feel comfortable gifting to just about anyone. Your boss, your wine-loving friends, and your loved ones. The truth is, there are plenty of mighty fine wines out there under $50 a bottle, it just takes more effort to sift through all of them to find the real gems.
I did some sifting for you, and here are my gems for 2012!
Wine Gift image via Shutterstock
Zinfandel is one of the top values from California, and when it’s done well, one of the most satisfying wines as well. Dashe is among the finest producers in the state with wines that express the rich intensity of fruit that Zinfandel is capable of, without ever going over the top. This is something Zinfandel, and Zinfandel producers in particular are prone to.
Chardonnay can be terribly divisive, with adherents to both the New World and Old World styles, so what can you do when it comes to buying one for a gift? Split the difference. Neudorf from New Zealand does just that, producing a great example of chardonnay that draws on both its New World location and traditional methods to produce one of the world’s greatest value Chardonnays.
Bordeaux can be a tough wine to find at a value price point, it just takes a little searching. Ideally you want to find a wine that is both classic Bordeaux, as well as approachable, if not ready to drink. 2005 was a great vintage, and the wines are beginning to enter their plateau of maturity. Chasse Spleen is a top producer from the lesser-known appellation of Moulis, making this quite the deal.
I’ve been on a bit of a Lagrein kick lately. Not many people are familiar with Lagrein, the Alto Adige’s trademark red wine. Rich, smooth and complex with terrific chocolate undertones, it’s a really intriguing wine. It’s not often that one can find a benchmark example of such a fine wine at a bargain price. Yes it’s hard to find, but that makes it an even better gift!
If there’s any region that stubbornly refuses to provide the average wine lover with bargains, it’s Burgundy. But that isn’t to say that there aren’t any. The few that do exist are hard to find and coveted by collectors. Savigny les Beaune is the place to go when looking for Burgundy values, and though the prices for the best wines have jumped, along with most burgundy, great wines can be found here for under $50. Case in point, the wines from Simon Bize. I love these wines for their purity, complexity and balance. His Les Bourgeots bottling is a fine and affordable introduction to Burgundy and the Bize style.